AMD consumer vs workstation GPU in Mac? (Eg Vega 64 vs WX9100)  

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Pacinoho
(@pacinoho)
Active Member
Joined: 1 week ago
Posts: 6
December 7, 2018 5:19 pm  

I just got my new Mac Mini 2018 and try to decide on which eGPU I should get. I mostly work in video editing and animation field. I came across people comparing the consumer GPUs (eg Vega 64) vs the workstation ones (eg WX 9100). Normally, there are whole list of advantages of the workstation card that justify the higher cost, that includes: 

- AMD technical support

- Pro apps certificates

- profesional driver

- Driver options (pro mode/game mode switch)

- 10bit output

- ECC memory

 

My question is, it seems this list only mostly hold true in Windows. How many of this list actually hold true under Mac? Let’s see...

 

- AMD technical support - you probably can’t get any unless your card is faulty. I try to ask them about application specific questions and they basically say for Mac they don’t support any.

- Pro apps certificate - none in Mac, see https://www.amd.com/en/support/certified-drivers

- Professional driver - since Apple developed the driver, do we really get a significantly different driver for Vega vs WX? My wild guess, correct me if I am wrong, is they have the same architecture, so Apple has no reason to develop different drivers and spend time to optimise for different applications differently. 

- Driver mode option (pro mode/game mode switch) - no such thing in Mac. 

- 10 bit output - this is a tricky one, as I can’t seem to find anything about if Vega 64 can do 10 bit output in Mac. On the other hand, Apple called the iMac Pro GPU a PRO Vega. Is it possible that they actually use the same Pro Vega driver if you use a normal Vega as a eGPU? Does Vega 64 in Mac eGPU support 10 bit render, as it’s possible in iMac Pro?

 

So I mean, what is the advantage of paying more than 3 times the price to go for WX 9100 instead of Vega 64, if I will use only under Mac? The only difference seems to be the 16G ECC memory. Please enlighten me, anything I have missed?

Soon I will add my system & eGPU details or a build link to this my signature to give context to my posts


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Pacinoho
(@pacinoho)
Active Member
Joined: 1 week ago
Posts: 6
December 11, 2018 3:44 am  

I just read the Apple official product description of the Blackmagic eGPU Pro - which uses a (not pro) Vega 56. While the BM eGPU Pro is overpriced, Apple’s product description gives some insight to what Apple thinks:

“Get workstation-class graphics performance on any Thunderbolt 3–enabled Mac. ...... You’ll be able to run incredibly graphics-intensive workloads that were previously possible only on iMac Pro. “

So Apple actually consider the Vega 56 a workstation-class GPU, and probably runs the same driver as in the Radeon Pro in the iMac Pro. My bet is it actually also support OpenGL 10 bit output, which is not possible with the Windows drivers. (Edit: this is confirmed in email with BM support. They said based on their understanding, the eGPU Pro supports 10 bit OpenGL rendering. )

Please let me know what you think. Am I out of my mind, or is there some truth to what I said above? Anyone compared a Vega to WX in Mac?

Soon I will add my system & eGPU details or a build link to this my signature to give context to my posts


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